This week’s Indie Interview is with Steve Boseley, whose collection of short stories, A Sinisiter Six, has been described as “incredible”, “perfectly horrid”, and ‘brings you in then keeps you shivering” and if that isn’t enough, it’s earned more than one five-star review from its readers.
Hi, Steve. Welcome to Read A Lot.
Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?
A: Not really. I’ve written on and off for many years, but it’s only the last one or two years that I’ve been taking it ‘seriously’ and actually aiming for publication. I’ve been a lot of things in my life, but it’s only in the last six months that I have started spending more time writing than I do on my day job.
Q: What inspired you to write A Sinister Six?
A: It actually stemmed from a series of conversations I had with a friend. I had acquired a catalogue of short stories, and he suggested that I should pull the best ones together and get something available on Amazon. His feedback, combined with that of several beta-readers, was what gave me the push to actually do it. I pulled six stories together, and A Sinister Six was born!
Q: What made you choose the genre?
A: I’ve always been a lover of horror fiction, so it seemed natural that if I were to write anything, horror / dark fiction would be the genre I would choose. I’ve tried writing in other genres, but it doesn’t seem to work out quite as I planned.
In the last year, I wrote a piece of fiction that was supposed to be amusing. When I discussed this piece with a friend, we were howling with laughter, but when I wrote it, there was suddenly blood dripping from the ceiling and half a foot left in someone’s shoe. I don’t think my brain wants me to write anything else! Curiously, I still think this is some of the best writing I’ve done! It’s Merle’s story and it’s free on my website if you’re interested!
Q: What is the book about?
A: A Sinister Six is exactly what it says on the cover. It is a collection of darkly disturbing stories, where the ordinary and mundane become extraordinary and fantastic.
It invites readers on a journey to the edges of reality and offers a glimpse at what lies just beyond reach. I want readers to discover that nothing is quite as it seems.
The six stories are all very different: Meet an old man that is pushed beyond his limits; a ten-year-old boy who is offered a deal by The Devil, in the guise of a nurse; a photograph that is still adding people decades after it was taken; a woman that doesn’t age; a book that demands to be read, putting our existence at risk; an over-worked man struggling to maintain his hold on reality.
Q: Did you find it easiest to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?
A: When I originally wrote the stories I had no time restrictions. It was very much ‘they will be finished when they get finished.’ However, once I had decided that I was going to publish them as a book, I gave myself a schedule to edit the stories, complete the formatting, get a cover designed, etc. If I hadn’t, it could still remain unpublished!
I’ve learned a lesson and will give myself a schedule for my next book, right from the start!
Q: Can you choose a favourite character?
A: I would have to say my favourite character is Ted Harris. He is the protagonist in Die, Blossom, Bloom, which is the first story in the book and also my first novella, coming in at 20k words. Ted is an old man who has moved to the country to spend his last few years with his wife. He has a secret to keep about the death of his wife, and there are those around him that wish to uncover that secret. This battle will eventually push Ted to commit acts he never thought himself capable of.
He’s my favourite, as he is based on my late grandfather (just the good stuff!), and I found him the easiest to write as a result.
Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing your book when you wanted to give up?
A: No. There were plenty of times that I almost procrastinated myself away from finishing it – check my website, do more research, rewrite the first paragraph, etc. – but not completing it never occurred to me. Just be careful, kids, procrastination is addictive.
Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?
A: The editing stage is not as fun as I’d like it to be, but I would say that over the whole life of the book, by far, my least favourite part is the marketing and promotion of the finished product.
It would be great if I could finish one book then just set it free into the world to fend for itself.
Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you find it easier to make them up as you go along?
A: I like to think I’m a bit of both. I usually come up with the start and the end of stories. That’s the planning part. How I get from start to finish is usually the bit that happens organically. The characters often do things that I hadn’t considered along the way, but having a finishing point allows me to make sure they don’t steer too far off course.
I did NaNoWriMo last year, and completed the challenge. I don’t think I could have done that without planning. There really is little time to stare out of the window until the story comes to you!
Q: Do you have a favourite piece of writing advice?
A: Make the first page, the first paragraph as enticing as it can possibly be. I’m not Stephen King, so I don’t expect my readers to give me the benefit of the doubt for the first fifteen pages. I want a reason to read the next page.
Q: Where can people learn more about your books?
A: A Sinister Six can be purchased here
Q: What have you learned since you started writing?
A: I have learned that there are an awful lot of people on the Internet that are there to help you. I have crossed path with people that have offered advice and support, people that have offered me opportunities (like this post, for example), people that have answered my questions, people that have listened when it’s all going Pete Tong (that’s rhyming slang for ‘wrong’ if you didn’t know), people that have helped me put things in perspective, and people that have encouraged me.
You just need to be brave enough to reach out, and do all those things yourself. It’s like the Circle of Life.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m still growing as an author and I’ve still got lots to learn. My wife tells me I need to be more sociable, so I’ll look forward to interacting with everyone, she tells me. But right now, it’s on to the next book. It’s going to be another collection of short (ish) stories, because I still enjoy writing them! I wrote some of them in NaNo month, but there is editing to do, plus completely new stories as yet undiscovered…